1. Belvedere Vodka: The Launch

    By @mrpauldunphy on 2014-12-18

    As we’ve learned over the past couple of days, there’s a new ingredient in Bond’s Vesper Martini: Polish vodka.

    It’s good news all round as luxury, rye-based Belvedere replaces bargain bucket Smirnoff in 007’s signature drink. This week, A rainy Covent Garden heralded the start of the new partnership between luxury powerhouse LVMH and Eon Productions. The Bond in Motion exhibition looked suitably chic; bedecked in lit “silver sabre” magnums of the spirit, the Martinis were shaken or stirred to your preference and the music pumped out to the suited & booted/befrocked of London. Tinie Tempah was on the decks, but he seemed normal sized and in fine fettle.

    BV_007_Silver Saber

    Special Editions: 007 Silver Sabre & MI6 Edition, however, first learned of the change not in an underground bunker filled with 007’s rides (vehicular, mind), but in a very exclusive members’ club down a very anonymous street the day previous; a low key setting with an intrinsic link to the Bond universe. We can’t say more than that – as it was all very hush-hush – but suffice it to say it was the perfect surrounding in which to learn a bit more about Bond’s new tipple.

    A select few of us were ushered in to the private bar to meet Belvedere boffin and in-house mixologist Claire Smith (@belvedereclaire) who taught us all about the subtle variations and myriad options available when ordering a Martini; we were introduced us to their “reversed Vesper” in which the measures of gin to vodka are switched to create a smoother, vodka-centric drink; and after we had our fill, we sat down with Charles Gibb (@presbelve), the softly spoken President of Belvedere, who described the partnership as “the largest [they] have ever undertaken.” Mr Gibb went on to outline extensive plans that include worldwide advertising and public relations campaigns, a large social media presence, various promotions and events in bars, nightclubs and stores & the unveiling of two limited edition bottles.

    You’ve probably read all about them by now, but let’s re-iterate anyway: the first has a very limited run of 100, it features the SIS headquarters in place of the Belweder Palace and features green detailing in place of the usual blue – in homage to Captain Sir George Mansfield Smith Cumming’s choice of green ink when initialling documents with his initial “C” (and quite frankly, with that compendium of names, who can blame him using only one letter?). The second edition is the 007 “Silver Sabre”, an LED-luminated silver bottle with laser-etched Bondian details. It does look rather sexy in low light (we can say from first hand experience).

    Bartenders & cocktail purists around the world will agree that the newest ingredient in the Vesper Martini is certainly a step up from what has gone before and should prove a much welcomed boost to Belvedere’s profile worldwide. Mr Gibb, going into greater detail about the newly minted relationship with 007 said “it’s all about synergies when you’re looking at any partnership: Bond is a man of taste, a man of distinction, of style and substance and we’re a vodka of authenticity, of heritage. We like to say we’re a vodka for those who know the difference.”

    Amen, Mr Gibb – mine’s a reversed Vesper.